I have a confession to make and evidently need to rant today. I speak and listen to nothing but Spanish about 90% of each day here. And I speak “pretty good” Spanish. However, on a good day I understand about 80% of what passes through my senses. I can live with 80%. It is in fact a good number. I get the big picture of what is going on around me, how I fit into it, how I don’t fit into it….and then I stumble along my own merry route. I don’t sweat the small stuff, because I am completely unaware of the small stuff! No, that’s not entirely true; I make a serious effort to not sweat the small stuff….I see so many people all bungled up inside it. But I always like to understand every f’n thing that goes on around me and that is how I base my decisions on matters. I figured it was good for me to live less specifically, grasping more or less what is going on around me, without having to actually dive into the pea soup, so to speak.
On a good day I can accomplish business negotiations successfully, even if I end up paying twice what Pablo might have if he’d taken on the task without me. That is just one of the hazards of living here as a foreigner. It is assumed by almost all Yucatecans that we foreigners have a bottomless bank account, and although they don’t know the terminology, basically treat us all as if we were “trust fund babies”. Other than stores and services with fixed prices, where we are all treated equally until we get to the checkout counter and are the object of bad attitude. We buy so much shit! It bugs them because on their salaries they can’t just whiz through the aisles and pick out things on a whim. They see us throw money away and it affects them in a strange way. I can even overcome that by making a joke or remark to bring about a smile. Usually I get the stink eye buying huge quantities of cat food and canned tuna. So I tell the cashier that we really eat mostly cat food, thus saving money on other groceries. The ones with a sense of humor laugh. The others think I am probably not kidding.
I get cross culturally confused.
But today was a 50% day, where I was only understanding 50% of what I heard in Spanish, and I woke up half-brained in English. If I am not mistaken that brings me down to 25% functionality because with half a brain I only understood half of the half I was hoping to understand. I got real frustrated and the rest of the morning, at least, no matter what I tried to say or even think about, I seemed to become defensive about everything. I went off on an Anti-Schwarzenegger rant in the pool this morning. Everyone felt so peaceful in the soothing warm velvety water until I discussed a documentary I watched on HBO last night about anabolical steroids. I was watching a Michael Moore style documentary so it would take a lot of research for me to make my own decision on the matter. The producer was pro-steroids but he did a good job of presenting both sides. I would have to say it was a thought provoking documentary. I learned a lot about all kinds of steroids.
And I have nothing against Arnold Schwarzenegger. You would sure have thought so listening to me rant today! I don’t like hypocrites and what I learned about him last night plus his recent change of heart about the plight of the illegal alien situation in California, made me decide he was just that and I guess I took some frustration out on HIM: say what? All I know was I was emotionalized (Sorry, Spanglish) and talking loudly and firmly about something that I really don’t care about and up to this point in my life has had absolutely no impact whatsoever.
See. I am operating at 25% today. I need a roll in the hay and a trip to the beach. Or a shot of tequila and the afternoon in the pool. Or all of the above and maybe I even need a swift kick in the ass.